Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced that a producer check-off will be in place for August 1, 2012, to fund research, market development, and technical assistance for the western Canadian grain industry. Following a consultation process to develop the new regulations, another key element in the orderly transition to marketing freedom for western Canadian grain growers is now in place.
“Our Government committed to ensuring that a producer check-off would be in place beginning August 1 so that farmers continue to benefit from important research and market development,” said Minister Ritz. “As marketing freedom becomes reality, farmers can be confident that this check-off will help ensure that their businesses remain on the cutting edge of research and innovation.”
The check-off will be administered by the Alberta Barley Commission, and funding derived from it will support the work of the Western Grains Research Foundation, the Canadian International Grains Institute, and the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre. The check-off is designed to provide the same level of funding that these organizations received through the previous arrangement.
As detailed in the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, the check-off funds can be used for the following:
• research activities into new and improved grain varieties;
• the promotion of the marketing and use of grain grown in Canada; and
• technical assistance relating to the use of grain grown in Canada.
The Government received comments from 16 organizations and individuals, the majority of which supported the proposed regulations and agreed with the importance of having the new rules in place for August 1, the start of the 2012-13 crop year, to avoid any gap in funding.
Two parts of the proposed regulations were improved as a direct result of stakeholder input. The refund submission deadline of December 31 was deemed too early in the crop year and has been extended to July 31. As well, the proposed regulations were adjusted to clarify when the collected check-off funds are to be submitted to the prescribed agency.
The check-off will remain voluntary. It will be charged at point of sale and will appear as a deduction on producers’ cash purchase tickets when they deliver grain. This will be done in a manner that is fully transparent so that farmers can see the full amount of their support to grain research and market development. It will not, however, apply to imports, producer-to-producer sales, and feed and exports not delivered through licensed facilities.
“The Harper Government remains focused on creating jobs, growth, and long-term economic prosperity for all Canadians. This check-off will help the Western grain industry grow, increase profitability at the farm gate, and contribute to a stronger Canadian economy,” said Minister Ritz.
The agriculture industry plays an important role in creating jobs and keeping the economy strong. Canada is the world’s fifth-largest exporter of agriculture and food products, with last year’s exports hitting an all-time high of more than $40 billion.